Chicago Export
Goettsch’s Park Tower Gets Thumb’s Up in SFO

Today we begin a new series of reports we call “Chicago Exports.” So much of the world’s great architecture is designed right here in Chicago by Chicagoans, but it’s not built in Chicagoland so it goes unseen by the hometown crowd. That’s why we are featuring the great works produced by Chicago architects continuing the city’s proud legacy as the birthplace of the skyscraper, and a global center of architecture.


Rendering of the Park Tower San Francisco (Courtesy of Goettsch Partners)

Rendering of the Park Tower San Francisco (Courtesy of Goettsch Partners)

Goettsch Partners‘ latest project, the Park Tower in San Francisco, has received that city’s blessing to move forward.

Specifically, what it received is “Prop M” approval. Proposition M is an ordinance passed in the 1980’s that deliberately slows the growth of the city by limiting the number of square feet of new office space that can be built each year.

Developers doing business in San Francisco have been living in fear of Prop M for the last few years because the city’s office market is red hot and each year the cap gets closer and closer.

But the Park Tower won’t have to worry about that. Its 750,000 square feet of office space squeezed in under this year’s cap.

The 43-story building is actually a two-fer Chicago story because the San Francisco office of Chicago architecture firm SCB has its name on it, too.

Read all about it in the press release after the pics.



Park Tower rendering, courtesy of Goettsch Partners

Park Tower rendering, courtesy of Goettsch Partners


Park Tower at Transbay to Rise on Landmark Property

CHICAGO – Architecture firm Goettsch Partners (GP) has been hired by The John Buck Company and Golub & Company, a 50/50 joint real estate development venture, for the design of San Francisco’s latest Class A office tower. The 29,000 square foot site for the Park Tower at Transbay is located at the corner of Howard and Beale streets in the SOMA area, near the San Francisco Bay and across the street from the new Transbay Transit Center, which is currently under construction. GP will lead the design for the project, collaborating with the San Francisco office of Solomon Cordwell Buenz, who will serve as local architect, as well as Stevens + Associates Architects.

The 605 foot tall Park Tower will be 43 stories and include 750,000 square feet of commercial office space. The tower is designed as a series of three massings that offer a variety of floor plate sizes for tenants. Within these distinct massing elements, the architects carved out a series of large outdoor terraces that provide substantial outdoor amenity space to office tenants.

James Goettsch, FAIA, CEO and Chairman of GP explains, “The building almost completely covers the accessible area of the 29,000 square foot site, leaving no room for plaza level landscaping. However, the upper floors provide over 25,000 square feet of landscaped decks or mini-parks in the sky, which makes the building unique,” and yielded the building name – Park Tower. The terraces are specifically site-oriented throughout the tower to provide amazing views of San Francisco Bay and the nearby Transbay Transit Center elevated park.

The tower’s façade is comprised of floor-to-ceiling glass and is articulated with a series of vertical glass fins that relate to the location of the tower terraces, which occur at a three-story module. The podium façade also utilizes a series of vertical double fins in addition to a module of fritted glass. The fritted glass element is repeated through to the base of the building to help continue the tower articulation and materiality throughout the three tower massings. Scott Seyer, AIA, LEED AP, principal at GP describes, “The materiality and scale of the façade changes with each of the separate tower massings. However, they are in concert with each other and the scale becomes smaller as we approach the base of the tower. The overall tower design is meant to create a timeless aesthetic that will provide a positive addition to the Transbay area as well as the San Francisco skyline”.

At the base of the tower is a covered 5,000 square foot outdoor plaza with a 35 foot high ceiling. The area is designated as privately owned public outdoor space (POPOS) that abuts both the tower’s main lobby and adjoining retail space. Along with a series of outdoor seating areas, a major focal point of this outdoor space will be a large site-specific installation by a yet-to-be-announced artist(s), which will be integrated into the main wall of the tower’s core.

The commission marks GP’s first office tower design located in San Francisco. The project is currently in the Schematic Design phase and construction is scheduled to begin in October 2015 and will be completed in 2018.

Goettsch Partners (GP) is an innovative architecture firm with a global perspective, emphasizing a singular design approach across offices in Chicago, Shanghai and Abu Dhabi. Focused on combining exceptional design, technical expertise and unmatched service, the firm creates measurable value and environmentally responsible solutions. Services include architecture, interiors, planning and building enclosure design. Diverse projects around the world share a consistent emphasis on bringing bold design clarity to complex challenges. Visit for more information.


Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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